Business View Magazine | September 2022

183 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE VOLUME 9, ISSUE 9 HAWA I I CHAMBER OF COMMERCE “For example, we set up work-based learning opportunities that engage high school students and expose them to work life in the business sphere as they consider their careers. We also provide forums for employers, educators, community partners, and public sector leaders to collaborate on opportunities to strengthen and grow their respective sectors. Some of those sectors include health, technology, manufacturing, engineering, etc. So, we facilitate a shared space to prepare Hawaii residents for in-demand jobs and help employers find skilled workers. We will continue to work on state legislation that ensures our members can keep their doors open in these really uncertain times.” Uncertain times indeed – a number of factors, including workforce shortages and supply chain disruptions, are now affecting business owners as they attempt to climb out of the hole caused by the pandemic. Ms. Menor-McNamara shares, “Although we’ve been seeing more economic activity as a general rule, there are other challenges that our members are now having to step up and face. Many are struggling to find enough workers to fill positions and, of course, the contagious nature of COVID means that when workers have to call in sick, there are even more spaces that need to be filled. Hawaii is one of the most isolated business environments in the world. We import 99% of our goods – so the current issues with our supply chain are causing even more trouble.” Advocacy is also a priority for COC Hawaii. The chamber advocates on behalf of businesses to all levels of government, with a focus on the state level. The chamber, supported by volunteers, reviews thousands of bills to identify their impacts on business and advocate either for or against them. COC Hawaii also proactively introduces bills to help businesses and is the official liaison to the Military Affairs Council (MAC), which was established in 1985 to advocate on behalf of Hawaii’s military. MAC is comprised of business and community leaders, local and state officials, non-profit organizations, and retired U.S flag and general officers to maintain and enhance Hawaii’s military ecosystem as the second largest economic driver for the state. COC Hawaii heads a number of initiatives in addition to Manufacturing in Hawaii that are designed to drive economic growth. They include the 4HI Campaign, Hawaii is Hiring, and the Young Professionals Program. Ms. Menor- McNamara explains, “Our Manufacturing in Hawaii initiative was launched several years ago as a way to expand the local economic base. While the manufacturing industry is relatively small here, it’s still an industry that helps create